Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 357: an expensive exercise.

I was chatting with my mate Ben the other day about the various trials and tribulations of bandom. One of the things that came up is how frickin' expensive it is to be in one. First there's gear, then there's practice space, transport to and from practices and gigs (which can involve aeroplanes), studio recording, mixing, mastering, pressing CDs/vinyl (if that's the way you're going), design and printing of cover art/posters, photo shoots, not to mention the cost of maintaining your rock 'n' roll image (cigarettes and alcohol alone are enough to suck you dry, and then there are haircuts, shades and black jeans to think about). We're all familiar with the concept of the struggling musician, but these days it's a fair call to expect your local, dedicated band member to be loaded. Not because they're selling shitloads of records or getting paid a lot to play, but simply because these days rich kids are the only ones who can actually afford to devote their time exclusively to being in a band. Without cash support from Mummy & Daddy/Grandma/trust fund, little rock poppet would be having to somehow outlay thousands of dollars on their musical endeavours while only receiving the occasional share of say $100 for a gig. A share of $100 once in a while. Try flying across the country on your own means, putting yourself up in a hotel and taking two days out of your week for a pay cheque of $33.33. Nice maths right? And people wonder why musicians get shirty about them downloading their music for free. Because that's the problem. While it costs you a heap to get any music out there, these days people don't think they should pay anything to listen to it. Naturally there's touring, which can help. People still have to pay for a ticket to enter a venue. But then there's the story of a well known Sydney band landing the coveted Coldplay support slot for part of their North American tour, and returning home afterwards, not richer, but $5K down. Fabulous. The only decent money bands seem to make these days comes from licensing their music to ads, TV shows, movies etc. And that's fine. It's all fine really I suppose. I'm only thinking about it again now because I need to get one of my tracks mixed and mastered. Never mind. I'll find a deal I can stomach, fork out my hard-earned, and happily embrace this labour of love.

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